Students honor fallen soldier
Staff Sgt. Tirador's family accepts award from Colonie Central Key Club
By DAN SABBATINO
Colonie Central High School Key Club members honored a former member who died during a tour in Iraq in November.
The students,who are members of the same community service organization that Staff Sgt. Amy Seyboth Tirador belonged to before her graduation in 1998, presented the award to Tirador's family.
Close to 50 members of Tirador's family were on hand Tuesday, Nov. 24, to accept the Sandy Nininger Award, named after a former Medal of Honor recipient and Key Club member.
Tirador was 29 years old and the first Capital District woman to die in the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts, according to information from the school district. She was an Arabic-speaking interrogator and enlisted in the Army in 1999, according to information from South Colonie.
Lisa Eichholzer, a technology teacher and Key Club co-advisor, said the award will honor Tirador and serves as a gesture to her family that the community remembers her.
We knew the family was suffering the loss, she said. "This girl was a community servant even before she joined the service [military]. She went on to serve her country and is a good example for other students."
Tirador was active both in and out of the classroom and was a member of the National Honor Society and a Regents graduate at Colonie Central High School. She finished high school with a 90 average and ranked 59th in a class of 384. She was a four-year member of the school band and played trumpet in the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Orchestra. She also played softball and lacrosse and took a number of economics courses through Hudson Valley Community College, according to information from South Colonie officials.
South Colonie music teacher and band director Karen MacWatters said Tirador was the kind of student who would "stand out in your memory forever."
"It wasn't just her music talent or intelligence that left an impression on you, it was the way she never took life too seriously," MacWatters said. "Amy would walk into a room, a rehearsal, a concert and absolutely light up the room with her spirit. For a person who was so young she really knew how to live."
The award was a part of the group's annual induction ceremony that featured more than 130 members.
Tirador was buried with full military honors at Saratoga National Cemetery.